Author(s): Jayne Anne Phillips
Chicago, 1931. Asta Eicher, a lonely widow with three children begins to receive seductive letters from a man named Harry Powers, who promises to marry her and to care for her and her children. Asta agrees to go with him to West Virginia to see his house there, and then to bring her children. Weeks later, all are dead. Emily Thornhill, one of the few women in the Chicago press, is sent to cover the case. Trying to understand what lies behind the tragedy of this family, she is drawn deeper and deeper into the case and becomes determined to make sure that Powers is convicted.
A chilling, spectacularly riveting novel based on a real life multiple murder by a con man who preyed on widows-a story that has haunted Jayne Anne Phillips since childhood.
"In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It's the story of a serial killer's crimes and capture, yes, but it's also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath. Quiet Dell will be compared to In Cold Blood, but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity." -- Stephen King "Quiet Dell has all the elements of a murder mystery, but its emotional scope is larger and more complex. It combines a strange hypnotic and poetic power with the sharp tones of documentary evidence. It offers a portrait of rural America in a time of crisis and dramatises the lives of a number of characters who are fascinating and memorable." -- Colm Toibin "An extraordinary book - the best she has written." -- Kate Kellaway Observer "Phillips has always been superb at character, and the characters here are so vividly drawn that they bring every aspect of this story electrifyingly alive... This brilliant, beautiful novel shows us how the "miraculous" can shine." -- Christina Patterson Sunday Times "Morbidly compelling. Stephen King hasn't described it as his book of the year for nothing." -- Sam Baker Harper's Bazaar
Jayne Anne Phillips, born and raised in West Virginia, is the author of four previous novels, Lark and Termite, MotherKind, Shelter, and Machine Dreams, and two widely anthologised collections of stories, Fast Lanes and Black Tickets. Lark and Termite, winner of the Heartland Prize, was a Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Prix de Medicis Etranger. Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Bunting Fellowship, the Sue Kaufman Prize and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She is the Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the MFA Programme at Rugters-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. She divides her time between Boston, New York and New Jersey. www.jayneannephillips.com